Answer: Absolutely (part of our Malcolm X-esque by any means necessary approach to the hunt).
As I talked about in the last post – times (and the market) have changed significantly. With a few exceptions in the green and healthcare verticals (Great job openings, no candidates), most job seekers are not going to have staffing professionals beating down their door begging you to come interview. Unfortunately in the current job market - demand is obliterating supply. However, engaging with key staffing professionals can give you a boost, a partner in your hunt as well as preparing you should land an interview at one of your Glengarry (job) leads.
Here are a few observation and tips (that have rocked my world over the years) to get the most out of your relationship with a recruiter:
Build Relationships Make it a true partnership. Seek and find awesome recruiters in your industry and get to know them. These partners will not only broaden your contacts base – but if they get to know what makes you special (and you deliver for them), that increases the chances of them thinking of you when opportunities pop.
I’ll this in nearly every posts on the job search topic: The secret of networking is not who you know – but who knows you.
Don’t forget you need to build and nurture your network before you need it. Make sure you are making (what we call in the CRM world) touches (good touches: calling, meeting for coffee, playing jarts) with folks not just when you need a job or something else (it can be considered rude – since it is).
That segues us to….
Love is a 2-way street Like any healthy, valuable relationship, you want to ensure both parties get something out of the deal. Help them out however and whenever you can.
For a example, I make it a practice with all the professionals I work with (whether as a hiring manager or candidate) to see if there is something I can do for them (unrelated to my direct needs at the time). I end each phone call or meeting with (something like) “Is there an opening (for another client) you are having trouble filling that my network may be able to help you with”?Also let them know when you are not a fit (don’t waste everyone’s time).
Target Preferred Vendors/Corporate Recruiters Get to know the folks who do the recruiting for the companies you are targeting. This may be an internal HR professional or a third-party. Many companies have exclusive or preferred vendor agreements (so if you want in – that’s the only way). Do your research and find out who you need to be talking with to unlock the front door.
Get The Downlo Most top shelf recruiters will already do this – but make sure you pump them for every piece of information about the opportunity, the company and (most importantly) the personalities and wants of the hiring manager. As mentioned above, recruiters often have a long time relationship with the hiring manager and can give you insight into the intangibles of the position (which – as you should know – often swing the difference between candidates). Remember – the recruiter may work (directly or indirectly) for the company that is hiring – but you have a common goal: to present the hiring manager with the best (and best prepared) candidate. Work together with the recruiter to make that person you.
Rent To Own Often recruiters will be used in Contract- To-Hire opportunities (especially in soft markets like now – where FTEs give some hiring managers the willies). This is a great way to get into a company and show value (and make the company find a way to hire you). During the contract phase, often the recruiter will be good source of feedback from the client (to allow you to perfect your perfect fit).
Up next : Why do I need to network when I can find a job on Monster.com?
Disclaimer: As with all job search advice you receive (from here or elsewhere), results may vary – use at your own risk. You must be the captain of your own career. The last thing I say to all my career coach clients is “ignore what you want, use what make sense to you – and if something works for you – pass it on”.